Early Learning Mentor Coach Study (ELMC), 2010-2012 [42 States] (ICPSR 36852)

Version Date: Sep 21, 2017 View help for published

Principal Investigator(s): View help for Principal Investigator(s)
Eboni C. Howard, American Institutes for Research; Victoria E. Rankin, American Institutes for Research; Mike Fishman, MEF Associates; Laura E. Hawkinson, American Institutes for Research; Sharon M. McGroder, MEF Associates; Fiona K. Helsel, American Institutes for Research; Jonathan Farber, American Institutes for Research; Ariana Tuchman, American Institutes for Research; Jessica Wille, MEF Associates


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The ELMC Study collected data to describe the objectives, activities, approaches, strategies, and other aspects of the Early Learning Mentor Coach (ELMC) initiative from the perspectives of Head Start grantees, coaches, and staff. In October 2010, the funds to support the ELMC initiative were distributed to 130 Head Start grantees in 42 states and the District of Columbia for a seventeen month period. Grantees used the funds to hire coaches to provide on-the-job guidance, training, mentoring and technical assistance to Head Start staff. The grant recipients reflected the diversity of Head Start programs, including Migrant and Seasonal Head Start and American Indian and Alaskan Native Head Start grantees. Data was collected using a mixed-methods design (qualitative and quantitative) and the following data collection instruments: a grantee census survey; a coach census survey; coach telephone interviews; and staff telephone interviews with staff who received coaching. At this time, only the quantitative data are available via ICPSR.

Howard, Eboni C., Rankin, Victoria E., Fishman, Mike, Hawkinson, Laura E., McGroder, Sharon M., Helsel, Fiona K., … Wille, Jessica. Early Learning Mentor Coach Study (ELMC), 2010-2012 [42 States]. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2017-09-21. https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR36852.v1

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United States Department of Health and Human Services. Administration for Children and Families. Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation
Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research
2010 -- 2012
2010 -- 2011

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This study described the implementation of the Head Start coaching initiative and identified variations in approaches. Research questions included:

  • How are grantees implementing the mentor coach initiative?
  • What are grantee administrators, coaches, and staff perceptions of coaching?
  • What are implementation challenges and perceived areas of satisfaction?

The information collected in this study is extensive and achieves the primary purposes of describing many practical details of the initiative from the viewpoints of the primary stakeholders: grantee administrators, coaches, and program staff.

Achieving the goals of this study, within the time constraints of the ELMC initiative, required the rapid design of an effective comprehensive strategy to collect information across the administrators, coaches, and program staff members who were involved in the initiative. Thus, the study utilized a mixed-methods design that employed both quantitative and qualitative data collection and analysis methods. At this time, only the quantitative data is available via ICPSR.

Quantitative survey methods were used to examine the prevalence of an array of coaching features among the grantees and the coaches, and the sampling strategies allowed the research team to describe the ELMC population of grantees and coaches and to make generalizations beyond simple, chance occurrences.

Two instruments collected descriptive information about initiative experiences from the population of ELMC grantees, the population of coaches, and from a matched sample of coaches and the staff members they coached. The final quantitative data collection protocols were as follows:

  • Grantee census survey: This 40-question online survey was designed to collect descriptive data about the overall approach to professional development used by the grantees (i.e., the professional development context), the goals and objectives, the operation of the ELMC initiative, the coaching approach and implementation, any perceptions about the effectiveness of coaching, any reflections about the challenges of coaching, and the plans for sustaining coaching.
  • Mentor coach census survey: This 63-question online survey required was designed to collect descriptive data about the background and the experience of the coaches, preparation for the ELMC initiative, the approach to coaching, the goals and the content for coaching, any perceptions about the effectiveness of coaching, and challenges and facilitating factors about coaching.

The entire ELMC grantee and coach populations were recruited to complete the surveys.


42 states containing either a Head Start or Early Head Start program

Grantees, Coaches
census/enumeration data, survey data

Item-level response rates for the survey questions were generally high for most of the survey questions, although the range of the response rates was wide. For the grantee survey, the item response rates ranged from 40.5 percent to 100 percent, with an average response rate across the questions of 97.3 percent. For the coach survey, the item response rates ranged from 54.3 percent to 100 percent, with an average response rate across the questions of 95.5 percent.


2018-02-15 The citation of this study may have changed due to the new version control system that has been implemented. The previous citation was:
  • Howard, Eboni C., Victoria E. Rankin, Mike Fishman, Laura E. Hawkinson, Sharon M. McGroder, Fiona K. Helsel, Jonathan Farber, Ariana Tuchman, and Jessica Wille. Early Learning Mentor Coach Study (ELMC), 2010-2012 [42 States]. ICPSR36852-v1. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2017-09-21. http://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR36852.v1

2017-09-21 ICPSR data undergo a confidentiality review and are altered when necessary to limit the risk of disclosure. ICPSR also routinely creates ready-to-go data files along with setups in the major statistical software formats as well as standard codebooks to accompany the data. In addition to these procedures, ICPSR performed the following processing steps for this data collection:

  • Performed consistency checks.
  • Checked for undocumented or out-of-range codes.


  • The public-use data files in this collection are available for access by the general public. Access does not require affiliation with an ICPSR member institution.